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PBM HardRock 6hr - The Debrief


staffe's picture

By staffe - Posted on 23 August 2016

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

Looking at the nobmob event calendar it looks like I could have been the sole NobMobber at the event so I thought I share a short summary for those who considered it or is considering it for next year.

The race was a 6hr lap race with the usual bunch of categories. Organised by the local club calling themselves tipriders:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/MGLTR/

This was the first year they organised it but they did so super professionally. Everything worked brilliantly.
http://www.pbmhardrock6hr.com/

The venue is Kiwarrak state forrest near Taree so it is a bit of a hike but for those who are also surfers there are some really good breaks in the area to enjoy so it is the perfect weekend away surfing and riding.

They have around 50ks of single track but the race was held on a ~10K loop of pretty fast flowing single track. They had not put anything technical in the race track so it was suitable for all types of riders.

The guys organising it were very concerned that everyone should have a good time and enjoy it. I was asked countless times during the day if everything was ok etc. The only thing I could say was that everything was perfect because it was. It had that Tathra community vibe going on which I really like.

For me this was one of the more enjoyable race weekends I've had and very similar to the awesomeness of a Tatha weekend. Tathra's tracks are just a notch better but the surfing in the Taree area is better and it's a few hours less driving to Taree so they are on par in my books.

Next year, as Arnie says "I'll beee baaack" and I really recommend the event to anyone who's considering trying out a race (due to the beginner friendly tracks and the positive community vibe) but also experienced riders. A lot of the well known riders were there laying down some very fast laps. With a little speed the tracks provides enough challenge to entertain the best.

Cheers,
Staffan

Black Flash's picture

Looks like we had very similar lap times. Except for when my lefty shat itself on lap 4... Borrowed one of the demo fat bikes to finish. Even stopped for a couple of minutes to help out the solo women's winner holly Harris with a flat on my last lap (which cost us the chance for another lap).

Awesome event. We'll be back for sure.

staffe's picture

Would have been good to say hi.

What format did you do? Solo or team?

I'm having a gap year this year so I did a pair of two with a buddy form Newcastle who is quite active racing around Glenrock tracks. Well, that is my excuse I give myself to rationalise not manning up Eye-wink

Black Flash's picture

I teamed up with a tip rider that convinced my wife that I need to come up and help him.... Which of course gives me a weekend away riding. Always good! Would have been a tough day out for those riding solo. No time to grab a bottle!
I was probably the only person riding a Cannondale. Everyone was on either a spesh (local fav) or a Merida (Armidale crew).
Perfect weather for it too!!

hawkeye's picture

That loop is brilliant fun.

Like you say, not technically challenging to ride, but quite challenging to ride fast.

Heath! would have been funny to see you ripping around there on the fatty. Any thoughts on how they fit as a XC race machine?

Black Flash's picture

Well now that you have asked....
Firstly it's a Specialized, which instantly makes it slower than a Cannondale. Smiling
On the 9km race loop (different to the choc foot as 99% is groomed ST), the track was continuous up down, left right and repeat. With very little in the way of long climbs. Sure there were a couple of 50m gradual climbs, but there were also about 50 sharp 2-3 metre climbs.
The uber fat 3ish inch tyres, were probably running a bit too much pressure for the trail for it to shine, but....
Because of the rotating weight in the wheels, they maintained awesome momentum. Corners you could take a little faster which kept the momentum going. The only struggle (compared to my enves on the scalpel) were the climbs where it was noticeably more fatiguing.
So how much slower? A quick look at my lap time difference would put it at around 3%. Yep. Only 3%

Summary
It's a confidence inspiring bike that you can indeed race on the right trails. You will definitely be able to keep up with your mates on XC bikes. But you will leave them behind when the terrain gets a bit more "less groomed", which realistically is going to be most of the trails we ride these days.

Personally, this particular bike wasn't right for me. Size was spot on, sag set up perfectly. But the BB is too low, which meant pedalling through corners often resulted in a pedal strike. Worse still was my ankle bone. Each rotation saw it clip the crank. By the end of 2 laps my ankles were badly bruised with skin missing... Q factor? Different crank arm angles? Pedals more inboard?

Finally, big thanks to the guys at Bourkes bikes (and Specialized) that had a fleet of test bikes available to try - which saved our day from ruin...

I'll try to attach a pic of the bike I used.

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